lovely seattle

Greetings from *very warm* Berkeley! After a full week visiting frozen Seattle.
I always say (to self) you can get a good impression of a (livable) city first by its airport, second by transportation from such airport to the city center, and finally by access to Vietnamese food :-). Given my connection to the North I have indeed been to SEA-TAC many times and enjoying its diverse food collection.. but nothing prepares me for how wonderful, vibrant, and accessible the city really is until this official visit. There will not be too many photos to share as it was an intense week where my first photo was the fancy room i stayed at after arriving at 2am and next batch was only the day just before leaving. And in mis-judging the timing of bus/train (more on this soon! read that again, bus + train!!) I won’t offer photos of the absolutely vibrant and beautiful UW campus either.. But here are some impression in case you have time to visit some day: Read more of this post

switzerland 2013 recap


I still have plan to come back and write up about the last performance… perhaps by this weekend. But here is again the annual HD slideshow of the adventure to Anja Harteros’ Leonora aria. A large part on this trip, I spent either on the run or waiting on train/street, and this was the music that truly sticks. First the slideshow, then to finish out the aria, the last few pictures are repeats of the most lasting images. Lots of warm emotions, annual visiting to dear friends, meeting with new ones in Zürich with fantastic insider’s guide to river swimming + picnic _and_ promises of hosting on my next VK excursion 🙂 🙂 :-). Many discussions on VK, classical music, life, languages, sausages. I always love the establishment of human contact on the personal level because traveling can be such an isolation experience. As a complement I was spotted as an “obvious” Kasarova fan the moment i took my seat in the royal box; i told you, those video coordinators, they don’t always film what see ;-). A small regret couldn’t meet up with Cat and S, but many wishes all is moving foward well. life is long, we will resume. The Alps are sooooo beautiful, one can spend days and months just sitting / trekking / admiring. flowers: a batch for a certain singer but it didn’t quite survive the trek mountains to city. Somehow missing is a few photos of the trams, love love love it when the most prominent features on the streets are rail, trams, and pedestrians, and relatedly EVERYONE was in the lake swimming! For a visitor who loves small city, public transit, good bread, warm humid weather, no AC, warm human interactions, oh, and VK, it was a very memorable trip.

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ps- cow picture: we don’t have cows in the city to test our mutual reactions… so excuse the ignorant question, do cows hit people? so on last day on mountains, I pushed forward hiking up on flimsy shoes, a very rewarding experience… except somehow i was the _only_ one on that side of the mountains with cliff to the left as the sun was setting… then niice bell sounds, cows grazing in distance heading perpendicularly to cut off the trail… Then i saw the horns and got worried coz if they decided to make a run surely i’d be off the cliff.. First i thought of waiting out but then if they just sat on trail (coz can’t go further to left) then i’d be miserably lost on mountains after dark… so it was a race to who got passed first.. with lots of slipping and sliding.. After i “ran” passed them, looked up, they were just amusingly watching my moves.. and more images of them _charging_ downhills, so off to the cable car to race all the way down :-).

day0


bos-sea-anc-otz-ome, was a very long day, but last 2 legs were with superb superb company. with someone i highly highly respect, who invited me on the trip, and we were chit-chatting part science part life part fun all the way here. So, a first view of the Bering Sea, soo fresh and lovely the sight. The russian connection might not come through after all, even though i finally apparently got visa today (haven’t seen it). But now i don’t care so much about that, especially when i just saw map again that we’ll be going _into_ the Chukchi Sea!! crossing Bering Strait! *excited*. It’s super sun-shining at 11pm here, am told will be assigned the late “watch” shift to the sunset (will figure out what all this means once we board). Plan for tomorrow: unpack all equipments. Late night entertainment will include lessons on how to get into survival suits, can be quite comical am told. greetings from alaska!

ps- the music! in my head whole time when i walked along the ocean.

photo for the day

currently outside office window

work is progressing as nicely as i can hope for. hair is cut super short, official invitation has arrived in the mail. suspense continues as visa news awaits. Here’s music currently on headset. This will be my 3rd trip to Alaska, here’re a couple photos from the last one. those creatures are very cute!.

germany 2012 recap


so, lots of pix, i just tossed them together to VK’s take of D’amour l’ardente flamme from last year opera-concert and made an HD movie out of it. Otherwise they’ll remain hidden somewhere like last year’s photos. All photos in Berlin bring back many many memories to both I and my younger sister, of our first trip traversing Germany back in 2002 (cake, lake, shop where we raised our 2 fingers for 200g of ham…). A last minute plan with a newly (yet oldly) found friend sent me to Bach’s beautiful St Thomas Church as well as a very nice tour of the city. Olympic stadium pix: it was a very very nice experience, especially when 5 years ago, during my first trip to Munich, I took a photo of the empty stadium and wondered what it would feel like sitting there listening to the roaring crowd. Sausage pix: a treat from a dear friend who upon hearing me mentioning dreaming of the white sausages the moment i landed bought many for me to try. Single map pix: un-nerving event which had me locked out and wandered the streets of Munich without a map after the opera at 1am looking for friend who was locked in at work studying for his exam. He later said he had full confidence in me to eventually find his office, clearly he doesn’t know my well documented record of getting lost, especially when the sun goes down… The only regret we had was our failure to capture a nice photo with him sticking his head out window chatting and tossing me the key. Fruit photo: another dear friend whose way of cutting fruits always made me wanting to eat the entire plate. It’s now established, the fruits are prepared whenever i’m in the house :-). Ham + Salami photo: a defensive mechanism after our memorable “sweet” 2002 trip which has us now always buying as much salty food as possible the moment we (I) land in Germany.
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my favorite walk

Happy to report I figure out how to make an HD video (!) just in time to post a slideshow of my favorite walk along the Charles esplanade (I think you have to click on the 720p in resolution to get HD, default is 360p.)

ubuntu script:
ffmpeg -r 0.216 -i MyPicture/pix_%2d.jpg -vcodec dnxhd -b 18000000 -s 1280×720 -aspect 16:9 -i Track7.wav -acodec copy -ss 00:00:00 -t 00:07:18.38 myslideshow.avi
(-r 0.216 –> 1/.216 = 4.63 sec / picture)

sinbad người đi biển

a friend recently gave me a nice tour to see this nice sail boat (might have been a similar one…, pix also not mine).

it totally reminded me of Sinbad and his 7 adventures in the sea in 1001 Arabian nights. Back when i was around 8 or 9, a friend loaned me this book and i was so in love with it i hand-copied the whole 7 adventures for keep (took me more than a month of doing nothing but copy-writing days and nights after school hours.)

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